Small Films 16: Semiotic Plastic

Semiotic Plastics

A Weekly Short Film Review

We return this week to the Small Films series with this experiment by Romanian director Radu Jude. His 2021 short film, Plastic Semiotic. An exhibition of images depicting the essence of our existence from conception to death with toys. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of explicit snapshots of action figures and dolls having conception action in all positions imaginable. 

The range of art spans from the clever and lively to the disturbing and unsettling. The collage of images portrays “conception action,” cruelty, inequality, racism, consumerism, and war, among other topics represented by pop culture and historical event references. Each and every single seconds-long scene has enough material for at least a blog article. 

Recently, Radu Jude’s most recent film, Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, left a lasting impression on me. 

A fascinating modern take on Godard’s politically charged unconventional collection of scenes, the movie revolves around an overworked driver for a production company interviewing people who injured themselves working for a “Safety at Work” video. The irony reads itself. This is made even more clever by different kinds of cameras and methods. It is the Godardian for the TikTok generation. More than Masculin féminin’s children of Marx and Coca-Cola, it’s all about Andrew Tate and Zoom meetings. 

Back to Semiotic Plastic

Regarding short films created for mature audiences done with dolls, Semiotic Plastic should be highlighted alongside Todd Haynes’ Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. It’s a brilliant and thoughtful film about the inescapability of life. It’s also good to troll any Barbie haters down there. 

So you can watch this on Mubi and share it with anyone who behaved like a film snub speaking about Barbie. Let’s see if they can handle this! 

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